Belfast Telegraph

Stoke fixture plight angers Pulis

Tony Pulis feels it is "not right" Stoke have to continually play away games in the Barclays Premier League after their European matches, and thinks clubs should be able to discuss such issues with football authorities and television companies before the season starts.

Earlier this week Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson blamed television schedules for creating "ridiculous situations'' for teams playing in Europe. Potters boss Pulis has similar complaints, finding it "unbelievable" that his side, having already followed up three Europa League fixtures with domestic away games, face the same scenario another five times this term.

He said: "Television revenue has been of enormous value to football clubs in England. But I also think there should be a chance for clubs, if they are in Europe, to sit down with the Premier League, the Football Association and the television companies and arrange the fixtures in a way that will help those clubs."

Pulis, speaking ahead of Stoke's European clash with Besiktas on Thursday night and a league trip to Swansea on Sunday, added: "If we are representing England, you'd expect the English FA to do their damnedest to give you the best opportunity to do well, not only domestically, but in Europe.

"I think there has to be a change somewhere along the line where you actually sit down before the fixtures come out."

A spokesman for the Premier League said Stoke's sequence of fixtures this season had been affected by a police request for them to play away on the weekend of August 20-21 due to the V Festival taking place in Staffordshire, which then had a knock-on impact for the rest of their schedule.

The Potters travelled to Norwich on August 21, three days after their Europa League qualifying play-off first leg against FC Thun in Switzerland.

The spokesman also said that fixture list compilation was a complex process and that clubs have the opportunity in pre-season to speak to the Premier League about their schedules.

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